In one fell swoop, President Goodluck Jonathan on Thursday sacked the leadership of the Nigerian Armed Forces with their replacements being directed to resume immediately.
No reason was given for the abrupt changes by presidential spokesman, Dr. Reuben Abati, who announced the development. But factors responsible for the removal of the military High Command range from a recent 14-day ultimatum to effect the changes given by activist-lawyer, Mr. Festus Keyamo, to the failing war against Islamic militants, Boko Haram, in Nigeria’s North-East.
Abati, in a statement, said: “President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan has in the exercise of the powers conferred on him by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria approved the following changes in the nation’s Military High Command:
“Air Marshal Alex Badeh takes over from Admiral Ola Sa’ad Ibrahim as Chief of Defence Staff; Major-General Kenneth Tobiah Jacob Minimah takes over from Lt.-General Azubike O. Ihejirika as Chief of Army Staff; Rear Admiral Usman O. Jibrin takes over from Vice Admiral Dele Joseph Ezeoba as Chief of Naval Staff; and Air Vice Marshal Adesola Nunayon Amosu takes over from Air Marshal Badeh as Chief of Air Staff. All the changes are with immediate effect.
“The new Chief of Defence Staff and former Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Badeh was born on January 10, 1957 and joined the Air Force as a member of the Nigerian Defence Academy’s 21 Regular Course while the new Chief of Army Staff, Major-General Minimah was born on July 27, 1959 and joined the Army as a member of the Nigerian Defence Academy’s 25 Regular Course. Until his new appointment, Major-General Minimah was the Commander of the Nigerian Army Infantry Corps, Jaji.
“The new Chief of Naval Staff, Rear Admiral Usman Jibrin was born on September 16, 1959 and joined the Navy as a member of the Nigerian Defence Academy’s 24 Regular Course. Until his appointment as Chief of Naval Staff, he was Director of Training at Defence Headquarters.
“The new Chief of Air Staff and immediate past Commander of the Presidential Air Fleet, Air Vice Marshal Amosu was born on August 1, 1958 and joined the Air Force as a member of the Nigerian Defence Academy’s 25 Regular Course. Until his new appointment, Air Vice Marshal Amosu was the Air Officer Commanding, Tactical Air Command, Makurdi.
“President Jonathan has briefed the leadership of the National Assembly on the appointment of the new service chiefs and will, in keeping with the provisions of the law, request the National Assembly to formally confirm the appointments when it reconvenes.”
Keyamo had a few days ago written to Jonathan issuing a 14-day ultimatum for the president to immediately remove three service chiefs appointed last year in compliance with a court order which nullified their appointments. Those affected by Keyamo’s ultimatum are Ihejirika, Badeh and Ezeoba. Justice A. Bello of the Federal High Court, Abuja had on July 1, 2013 declared the appointment of the Service Chiefs as null and void because it was not ratified by the National Assembly.
The war against Boko Haram has become an embarrassment to Jonathan, who has also failed in getting a political solution to the killings and destruction of properties in the North-East. Successful attacks on military bases in Borno and Yobe states by the militants often give an impression that the military high command does not have an answer to Boko Haram.